Labour MP calls for online trolls to lose anonymity after receiving 600 rape threats in a single night

·Freelance Writer
<em>Jess Phillips said she had received 600 rape threats in one night (PA)</em>
Jess Phillips said she had received 600 rape threats in one night (PA)

A prominent Labour MP has called on social media trolls to lose their anonymity after she received 600 rape threats in just one night.

Jess Phillips said Parliament needs to act against the anonymous trolls who abuse her on a daily basis with ‘bile and abuse’.

Speaking at the Cheltenham Science Festival, Ms Phillips said: ‘In my own experience, the violence and aggression I am threatened with every single day has its peaks and troughs depending on what I’m talking about.

‘If you speak from a feminist perspective, which I very frequently do, you will suffer from a huge amount of internet trolling, largely from what seems to be the Alt Right.

<em>The Labour MP is calling for online trolls to lose their anonymity (Rex)</em>
The Labour MP is calling for online trolls to lose their anonymity (Rex)

‘The other sort of trolling MPs suffer is issue-based or ideologically-based, whether you agree with Jeremy Corbyn or not, which is a classic reason to be trolled mercilessly.’

The Birmingham Yardley MP said the police had issued harassment orders against two individuals who constantly abused her over email.

She added: I take it as water off a duck’s back and I don’t ever think anyone is going to physically hurt me, even though I have received emails, Twitter comments and Facebook diatribes.

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‘In one night I received 600 rape threats. It was probably more, but I stopped counting. To try and subvert that, I received thousands of comments from people saying ‘I wouldn’t even rape her’.

‘I have suffered all of those things and I have to say I don’t feel I am physically in any danger and I don’t think my children are in any danger.

‘However, where it does worry me, and I think we have to do something about, is when it affects our democracy.

<em>Ms Phillips said that MPs suffer issue-based or ideologically-based trolling ‘whether you agree with Jeremy Corbyn or not’ (Rex)</em>
Ms Phillips said that MPs suffer issue-based or ideologically-based trolling ‘whether you agree with Jeremy Corbyn or not’ (Rex)

‘I personally have come to the viewpoint that I don’t think people should be allowed to be completely anonymous online anymore. I don’t mind if people appear anonymous online for all sorts of really reasonable reasons.’

Ms Phillips said she wanted to see changes which would mean that account holders would have to disclose their real identity to Facebook and Twitter, although they could still post messages anonymously.

Over the weekend, Security Minister Ben Wallace said digital IDs should be brought in to end online anonymity that permits bullying and grooming.

It comes after Prime Minister Theresa May used the G7 Summit to call for the tech giants to clamp down on vile attacks against women on their platforms.

Earlier this year, the Government announced plans to introduce new laws, including a mandatory social media code of practice.

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